All local authorities must legally consult with residents about proposed changes to the budget which pays for essential services in the city.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many more people needing council support, which has impacted the organisations finances. This includes help with council tax, business rates, business grants, providing food packages to people in need, food vouchers to children, and emergency accommodation and homelessness.
Bristol City Council aims to avoid cutting any essential services however council tax may need to increase by a small amount to ensure these can continue to run.
Cllr Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor for Finance, Governance, Performance and Culture, said: “We know this is a difficult time for many people and are very conscious of the impact that increasing council tax has on Bristol residents. In the face of a global pandemic, we, like all councils around the country are facing unprecedented financial pressures which leave us with a difficult choice – do we cut essential services, or ask people who can afford it to pay a little bit more?
“Before the pandemic we were one of the very few local authorities to offer the Council Tax Reduction Scheme meaning people only pay what they can afford, and in some cases that means not paying council tax at all. We continue to offer this service for those who really need it.
“COVID-19 has touched everyone’s lives and this had led to a huge increase in people needing support from the council. For those that can afford to pay council tax, it is really important you continue to, and for those that can’t, we will help you.
“I urge people to give their views on this consultation so we can balance the impact of any increase in council tax alongside the need to run services which are essential to residents.”
Options to increase council tax from April 2021 range from making no change at all to making a 3% increase to cover the cost of general council services such as supporting the elderly, education, children’s services, waste collection and recycling, street lighting, parks, road maintenance, libraries and homelessness. For most households an increase of 3% would mean between £35 and £41 per year.
There is also a further option of an additional 2% which would go towards the cost of adult social care. This extra amount for adult social care is referred to by the government as an Adult Social Care Precept..
You can give us your views on options by completing the questionnaire at bristol.gov.uk/budget2021-2022. The council tax consultation closes on 28 December.
Information can be provided in an alternative format including paper copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0117 922 2848.
If you are on a low income, council tax reduction could help pay your council tax bill. Find out more at bristol.gov.uk/benefits-financial-help/council-tax-reduction.